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    Inside the Bar: Mentoring Lawyer to Lawyer

    When a question arises and you want to talk to a peer in a particular legal-practice area, or find suggestions for software to manage your business, or you just need a sounding board, consider these State Bar resources.

    George C. Brown

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    Wisconsin LawyerWisconsin Lawyer
    Vol. 84, No. 11, November 2011

     

    George Brown

    Sometimes lawyers want to bounce ideas off their peers, to find out if they’re pointed in the right direction. If you practice in a small firm with other lawyers, share office space with another attorney, or lease an office in a building that has other practitioner tenants, you might have formed relationships within those spheres that foster informal exchanges of ideas.

    Any lawyer could benefit from a support network, someone to call with a question, sit down with over a cup of coffee, or talk to about how a particular court handles certain cases. But what if you don’t already have such a network? Where do you turn?

    Several local bar associations have developed successful formal and informal mentoring programs. A prime example is the Dane County Bar Association – its young lawyers and senior lawyers divisions are working together to benefit lawyers looking for such assistance. It has become a model for the State Bar Young Lawyers and Senior Lawyers divisions, which are collaborating to implement a similar mentoring program.

    One resource that experienced lawyers sometimes forget and new lawyers might not be aware of is the State Bar’s Lawyer-to-Lawyer Directory, located at the back of the annual Wisconsin Lawyer Directory and on WisBar®, the State Bar’s website. The Lawyer-to-Lawyer Directory lists hundreds of State Bar members within and outside Wisconsin who are willing to share their knowledge in any of 49 legal topic areas with other lawyers through brief telephone consultations. They are helping to sustain a network among attorneys that can lead to greater competence within the profession and better delivery of legal services to the public. The Lawyer-to-Lawyer Directory is not a formal mentoring program, but it is a practical resource when you have a question and want to talk to another lawyer.

    Although they are not “mentoring” programs per se, the State Bar’s Practice Management and Ethics Hotline advisors give one-to-one consultations to members, answering questions and sharing resource materials on law office management and technology and on lawyers’ professional responsibility obligations. Access the programs’ advisors, materials, and electronic lists via WisBar.

    WisBar is a portal to hundreds of State Bar member benefits and resources developed to support you in your practice. Gain access to practice sections and electronic lists for the exchange of ideas, free legal research via Fastcase, overviews and analyses of changes in the law via CaseLaw Express, Wisconsin Lawyer, WisBar InsideTrack and other publications, PINNACLE education programs, books, forms, and Books Unbound via the new Marketplace, and more.

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